Crocodile Safari

Crocodile Safari by Jim Arnosky

Journey with Jim Arnosky into the mangrove swamps and learn all about the American crocodile, its habitat and its life.  This nonfiction picture book is accompanied by Arnosky’s paintings that capture the wonder and grandeur of this animal.  The reader follows Arnosky through the swamps and into hidden corners where crocs swim and bask in the sun.  Readers will feel the thrill of exploration and discovery along with the author.

The paintings and language ask children to stretch a bit and think when reading, something that is good to see in a children’s picture book.  Because of this, the book can be used with older elementary children very successfully.  This is not a book that talks down to the reader.  Rather like an exploration of its own.  Arnosky’s art ranges from quite simple to almost lifelike detail as seen on the cover image. 

This is a winning nonfiction picture book that focuses on an animal that children find fascinating already.  Filled with facts, the book brings them to life wonderfully.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Audrey, Wait!

 

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway.

When Audrey decides to break up with her self-obsessed musician boyfriend, she has no idea how her life will suddenly change.  The song, Audrey, Wait! is played that very night and suddenly Evan and his band are rising on the charts and Audrey is being stalked by fans.  All Audrey wants is to be able to go to concerts, hang out with her best friend, and have a normal life.  But suddenly nothing is normal anymore and Audrey is forced to make choices that no normal teen has to make. 

The voice of this novel is perfection.  Audrey is a great combination of sarcastic and vulnerable, a tone that is just right for the situation she finds herself in.  Benway’s pacing is also well done, from the bedlam of concert backstage to the quiet moments with friends.  So are the secondary characters, including Audrey’s parents and her friends.  This is one of those books that will have you snorting with laughter as you read it, longing to read entire passages to your friends and family. 

Fans of Nick and Norah’s Ultimate Playlist will love this book too.  It has the same great mix of music and wit.  Appropriate for ages 16-18.